If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that we’re all in this together, right? While the phrase has almost become a cliche, it’s undeniably true: we all share responsibility not only for ourselves, but the planet as a whole. We can all take small measures toward the greater good.
One simple way to make a difference in the health of the planet is by planning how you’ll celebrate the holidays this year. And you just might find that by making the holidays a little greener, you make the celebration even more meaningful.
1. The Tree
Wherever you fall on the “real vs. fake” tree debate, it’s worth thinking through the consequences for the planet. An artificial tree, no matter how long lasting, eventually ends up in the landfill. And while many communities now provide tree recycling options, too many of those end up on the curb, too. This year, try a small potted tree. They can be replanted after the holidays – and you’ll never have to worry about picking up dead, dry needles.
2. The Decorations
Using nature in your holiday decor is not only good for the planet, it’s a chic, sophisticated way to spruce up (get it?) your home for the holidays. Holly branches, berries and eucalyptus make lovely decorations and you can pair them with burlap, raffia or reusable cloth ribbons for a look that is both fresh and inexpensive.
3. The Lights
LED lights make an enormous difference in your energy consumption at the holidays. They’re just as bright as incandescent lights but use far less energy. LED bulbs also emit fewer greenhouse gases, making them not only more efficient but also more environmentally friendly. These lights from GE have a color quality that closely matches traditional lights and they should last for about 10 years.
4. The Packages
Rather than wrapping your gifts in the standard colored paper and plastic ribbons, get creative. Reusable holiday gift bags can be just as cute as traditional paper, with none of the waste. You could also wrap a gift in a colorful scarf for double the gifting.
5. The Gifts
When in doubt, gift consciously. Where possible, give your loved ones experiences rather than things. For example, a budding musician might enjoy online guitar lessons. Or if you have a friend who’s recently moved somewhere new, gift a city scavenger hunt. You could even make those coupons we gave as kids and promise something like a trip to a different city park every month. Most of us appreciate the gift of time with friends and family more than material things anyway. If you do buy products for gifts, try to buy local!